IHBC welcomes draft ‘BS 7913’ consultation on conservation

The IHBC has strongly welcomed the opportunity to respond to the current draft of the revisions to British Standard (BS) 7913, the update on the 1998 ‘Guide to the Principles of the Conservation of Historic Buildings’, currently titled as the ‘Guide to the Conservation of Heritage Assets’, which has a closing date for comments of 31 May.

Mike Brown, IHBC Policy Secretary said: ‘This draft for the revision of BS 7913 touches on some important philosophical issues relating to our heritage. The IHBC is very conscious of the importance that the assessment of significance of historic fabric has in helping practitioners make decisions as to its future, and the primary importance of the evidence presented by the thing itself in arriving at that assessment of significance.’

‘However while we can develop an understanding and appreciation of what heritage ‘means’ to us, we can never guess what it might ‘mean’, or indeed ‘signify’ to others – notably future generations. That’s why we must always be especially cautious in our approach to the primary fabric or area.’

‘For many conservation practitioners, turning to this British Standard for guidance, the fabric of the asset will be of most immediate concern, and we would wish the document to properly reflect that. The IHBC will be making a clear, detailed and positive contribution to this philosophical issue through this consultation in the anticipation that the final document will be a sustainable and practical tool to help building and historic environment conservation practitioners secure and make best use of our heritage into the future’.

IHBC Director Seán O’Reilly said: ‘As this is a ‘British Standard’ we need to be sure that it will represent practice across the UK, and even beyond that where relevant. So it should provide a meaningful statement of specialist building and historic environment conservation practice to all users.’

‘While the current Standard may be both expensive and too-little known, as a British Standard it still has been highly regarded and extremely influential across a wide range of built and historic environment interests. We hope that the final document will maintain that important role’.

‘To that end, we’re encouraging as many informed and specialist conservation interests as possible to contribute to this hugely important consultation. We also urge new contributors to BS processes not to be put off by the need to register and log in to the website to read the draft or to respond to the consultation! It’s well worth the trouble, as you’ll be making a real contribution to a critical standard for the rich and diverse interests that shape our historic fabric and places.’

‘Alternatively, or indeed as well, IHBC members in particular are encouraged to contribute to the Institute’s own consultation response through following the links on our web consultations page.’

To comment through the BSI please remember that you need to register as a user on that site. This is a relatively simple process and open to all.

The IHBC will be providing a consolidated view through its consultations panel and services, managed by our consultations Consultant James Caird. Without prejudice to the final submission from the IHBC, the panel is delighted to receive contributions from anyone.

DRAFT Contents:

· Table of Contents
· Guide to the conservation of heritage assets
· Foreword
· 0 Introduction
· 1 Scope
· 2 Terms and definitions
· 3 Heritage values and significance
· 4 Using significance as a framework for managing….
· 5 Using significance as part of the operational…
· 6 Maintenance
· 7 Heritage and project management
· Annex A (normative) Conservation manuals, log…
· A.1 Introduction
· A.2 Conservation manuals
· A.3 Log books
· A.4 Inspections
· A.5 Inspection reports
· Bibliography

To see past consultation responses from the IHBC, see: LINK

To reach the consultation draft, and comment to BSI, sign up or log on at: LINK

To contribute to the IHBC’s consultation, read the document online at the BSI website and then comment to us by following the links at: LINK

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